Shigeru Mizuki (real name: Shigeru Mura, March 8, 1922 - November 30, 2015) was a Japanese manga artist, yokai researcher, and picture-story show writer. He was born in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, and grew up in Irifune-cho, Sakaiminato, Tottori. He made his debut as a manga artist in 1958. He published his masterpieces "Gegege no Kitaro," "Kappa no Sanpei," "Akuma-kun," etc., and became a leading figure in yokai manga.
Born in Osaka in 1922, he grew up in Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture. As a child, he was strongly influenced by the stories of yokai told to him by Fusa Kageyama (Nonnonbaa), who was the wife of a worshipper who served the gods and Buddha and who came to the house as a housemaid. After graduating from high school, he worked and studied in Osaka to become a painter. He was an eccentric student who, by his own admission, slept in late, ate breakfast late, and usually started school around the second period. He spent his youth in Osaka. In Osaka, he was overwhelmed by the city's rows of buildings and people, and thought that the lights of the city at night "looked like a festival. He lived and worked at Tanabe Printing Company, a lithographic printing company in Tanimachi (now Chuo-ku, Osaka City), but was fired after only two months because he could not keep up with the work due to his own pace. Next, he joined the Komura Printing Company in Terada-cho, but again he could not remember the route for deliveries, and when he finally learned the way, he forgot to deliver packages while observing the handiwork of downtown craftsmen. After that, he became ill and returned to Tottori to recuperate from jaundice. After returning to Tottori, Mizuki's father decided that his son was not suited to work, so he allowed him to study painting, which he loved. Mizuki recalls that his father's words, "Stop looking for a job and study painting..." made him jump up and down.
He eventually reached draft age and was called up for military service in 1943, serving in the Imperial Japanese Army in Rabaul on the New Guinea front during World War II. He had a harsh war experience and lost his left arm in an attack by American and Australian forces. On the other hand, he became friends with the local Tri people and wished to stay on the island of New Britain, but was demobilized to Japan after persuasion from those around him. After demobilization, he gave up his training as a painter due to poverty, and worked as a picture-story show writer to make ends meet before moving to Tokyo.
In the early days of his rental book period, Mizuki mainly created war stories and gag cartoons, and published "Jump out, Pyonsuke" and "Senjo no Oath" from Usagetsu Shobo. He also drew other diverse genres such as horror manga, science fiction manga, gag manga, girls' manga, and period dramas with various touches. Since artists tended to be reluctant to have their works published by other publishers, he also used several pen names besides "Shigeru Mizuki," including "Muramotetsu" and "Higashi Shinichiro.
In 1958, he made his debut as a rental book cartoonist with the rental book comic "Rocket Man," and began publishing the "Grave Kitaro" series intermittently from 1960. In 1961, he arranged marriage with Nunoe Iizuka; in 1963, "Demon-kun" was published by Tokosha, a rental book publisher; in 1964, he made his debut in a commercial magazine with "Garo. In 1965, he won the Kodansha Children's Manga Award for "TV-kun," and his works "Gegege no Kitaro" and "Kappa no Sanpei," which he had drawn in his rental book days, were published in Weekly Shonen Magazine and Weekly Shonen Sunday, respectively, making him a popular author for his works dealing with yokai. In 1966, "Akuma-kun" was made into a TV drama. Gegege no Kitaro," his biggest hit, has been animated for television six times since 1968. In 1993, Mizuki Shigeru Road was built in Sakaiminato City, where he spent his childhood, as a town revitalization project, and in 2003, the Shigeru Mizuki Memorial Museum was opened. In 1991, he was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon, and in 2003, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his many years of contributions to manga and yokai culture. 2007, "Nonnonbato Ore" was the first Japanese work to win the Best Work Award at the Angoulême International Manga Festival in France. In 1973, he wrote "Gyokusai Sho! (1973) won the Angoulême International Manga Festival's Heritage Award and the Eisner Award for Best Asian Work, respectively. As a yokai researcher, he has served as president of the World Specter Society, a member of the Folklore Society of Japan, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Japan Society of Folk Art. He is an honorary citizen of Chofu City, an honorary resident of Tokyo, and an honorary resident of Tottori Prefecture, and was named a Person of Cultural Merit in 2010. "The Complete Works of Shigeru Mizuki Manga" has been published since 2013. He died of multiple organ failure on November 30, 2015, at the age of 93.
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